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New Epcot Cookbook to Feature All Three Festivals

posted on July 21st, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


You can’t buy a copy until September, but we wanted to give blog readers a sneak peek at the new Epcot cookbook that debuts just in time for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (September 19-November 10). Instead of an annual cookbook just for that festival, the new book – even the title is still in the working stages – will feature, for the first time ever, recipes from Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, winter’s Holidays Around the World and the springtime Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

Here’s a picture of Disney photographer Matt Stroshane and stylist Laurel Ainley as they shot the new food photos for the book. Long days and lots of prep create pretty dishes we hope will make you hungry.

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Meanwhile, here’s a few photos from the book and one of our favorite recipes from this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival to get you started.

Grilled Verlasso Salmon with Quinoa Salad and Arugula Chimichurri
Serves 6

Salmon
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
6 (5- to 6-ounce) Verlasso salmon fillets, skin removed

Chimichurri Sauce
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, including stems, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh arugula
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves
3 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste

Quinoa Salad Dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste

Quinoa Salad
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa, cooked per instructions (makes approximately 3 cups cooked), cooled
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 small tomato, diced
1/4 cup corn kernels
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, to taste

For salmon:

  1. Combine garlic salt, lemon juice, and olive oil in small bowl. Place salmon in large zip-top bag and add liquid, turning fillets to evenly coat.
  2. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove salmon from refrigerator at least 10 minutes before cooking.
  3. Preheat oven to 400˚ F. Cover 15 x 10-inch baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place salmon on baking sheet in a single layer, evenly spaced.
  4. Bake 15 minutes or until the salmon easily can be flaked apart with a fork.

For chimichurri sauce:

  1. Place all ingredients in blender or food processor. Blend for about 10 seconds on medium speed or until ingredients are evenly blended. Season with salt and pepper. Store in a sealed container and refrigerate until ready to use.

For quinoa salad dressing:

  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

For quinoa salad:

  1. Mix all ingredients together in large bowl and toss with Quinoa Salad Dressing.

To serve:

  1. Equally divide Quinoa Salad between serving plates, top with salmon fillet and drizzle with Chimichurri Sauce.

Cook’s note: Verlasso salmon is sustainable and farm-raised; you can use any fresh, high-quality salmon in this recipe.

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Caption This: Ducks Hit Up The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

posted on May 7th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week’s “Caption This” image was shot at a previous Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Who are these curious ducks off to see? Tell us in the “Comments” section below!

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Less Than a Month Left to Savor Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

posted on April 28th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Time for another lap around World Showcase to taste more of the creative flavors in the Outdoor Kitchens – with 11 different stops, it’s nearly impossible to get a bite of everything before the festival ends on May 18.

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We caught up with Epcot Executive Chef Jens Dahlmann for the 411:

We had to try the turkey rib – what, exactly, is it?

Chef Jens: The turkey rib at The Smokehouse: Barbecue and Brews [at American Adventure] is a brand-new item, and we’re pleased to be the first to feature it at Walt Disney World Resort. It’s actually a turkey wing that is split in half, dry rubbed, slow cooked in the oven for about two hours, then slightly smoked in our on-stage smoker for another 45 minutes. The meat is moist, tender and full of flavor.

Which new dish has been the hands-down crowd favorite?

Chef Jens: It has to be the Piggylicous Bacon Cupcake with maple frosting and pretzels, also at The Smokehouse. It was a big hit from day one and a true must-try. Second would be the Ghost Pepper-Dusted Tilapia at Urban Farm Eats.

Which returning dish is the biggest hit?

Chef Jens: This is a three-way tie between the Pulled Pig Slider at The Smokehouse, Shrimp and Grits at Florida Fresh and the Potato and Cheddar Cheese Biscuit with Smoked Salmon Tartare at Buttercup Cottage in the United Kingdom.

Any surprise favorites?

Chef Jens: The Eggplant Scallop at Urban Farm Eats is popular, as guests seem to enjoy the meat-like texture of slowly cooked eggplant with classic Romesco (sweet red pepper) sauce and spaghetti squash.

Marianne Hunnel, the festival’s libations expert, chimed in with the most popular drinks this year: Watermelon Passion Fruit Slush and Hurricane Class 5 White Sangria at Florida Fresh, the frozen Desert Violet Lemonade in Pineapple Promenade and the Chilled Rose Blush Lemonade in the Buttercup Cottage.

And our new finds:

  • The divine duck confit at Fleur de Lys in France, a stack of buttery duck, potatoes and caramelized onions;
  • Lemon scones with strawberry preserves and crème fraîche at Buttercup Cottage (swirl the two toppings together and dip in the scone);
  • Beijing-style Candied Strawberries at Lotus House in China;
  • And, perhaps our most favorite, the Sweet Potato-Cinnamon Waffle with Pineapple Soft Serve at Pineapple Promenade. Perfect serving size – a warm waffle with ice cream. Now that’s a happy ending.

For more information about the 21st Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, call 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639) or visit www.epcotinspring.com. The festival, including all gardening programs and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.

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Vintage Walt Disney World: Past Epcot International Flower & Garden Festivals

posted on April 17th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center


Celebrating its 21st year, the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is in full bloom. My favorite part of the festival is all the topiaries throughout the Park. Here’s a look at a past topiary from the 1998 festival – Phil. (Hercules’s trainer)

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There are almost 100 topiaries at Epcot this year with 79 character topiaries to enjoy. What’s your favorite topiary past or present from the festival? Tell me in the “Comments” section below!

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Walt Disney World Resort Event Snapshot – April 2014

posted on March 28th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


There’s a lot happening at Walt Disney World Resort, here’s a glimpse of what’s headed your way from the world of Disney Theme Park Merchandise events. Before we jump into April, here’s a quick peek at two events that you won’t want to miss!

March 28 – 30: How many of you have already checked out the 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, as well as this year’s commemorative merchandise? I’m definitely jealous! Whether you have already been or are making plans to go, I hope you can join us for Art in the Garden Weekend with special appearances and signings by many of our beloved Disney artists, including Steve Barton, Annick Biaudet, Carlos Cuba, David E. Doss and Larry Dotson. Tip: Also keep an eye out for Greg McCullough who will be appearing the same weekend at Art of Disney in Epcot. Learn more.

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Secondly, I have to ask … have you signed up for the Rebel Rendezvous event? Check out the link for exciting info on this May 15 event, leading up to Star Wars Weekends 2014! Early shopping access to Darth’s Mall, specially designed merchandise available only to Rebel Rendezvous attendees, and exciting meet & greet opportunities are just a few reasons why you’ll want to be sure to reserve your spot!

Now, on to April!

Now – April 6: Be sure to check out the newest Fairy Houses being built by select artists on the promenade around World Showcase in Epcot. Learn more.

Now – May 18: Representatives from Rinse Bath and Body Co. will be on hand throughout the day to help you select the product that is right for your skin. My favorite? Definitely, the lip balms. You should check them out, they’re amazing! Learn more.

April 4 – 6: Look for a special appearance by Precious Moments doll designer and artist Linda Rick at the American Adventure Pavilion in Epcot. Learn more.

April 7 – 20: Renowned artist David E. Doss will be appearing daily on the promenade around World Showcase in Epcot. Stop in and find a new piece of art to add to your collection! Learn more.

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April 9 – 13: Artist Greg McCullough returns April 9 – 13 to Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace and will appear later in the month from April 23 – 27 at Art of Disney in Epcot. Be sure to stop in and say hello! Learn more.

April 10 – 13: Look for special appearances by artist Larry Dotson, April 10 – 13 at Art of Disney in Epcot and April 21 – 25 at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Learn more.

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April 21 – May 4: Meet representatives from Kumquat Growers and Tropical Blossom Honey Co. who will be on hand from 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., each day on the promenade around World Showcase in Epcot. Learn more.

Keep watching the Disney Parks Blog for information on special Earth Day artist appearances at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Which events are you most excited to attend?

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Muppets Celebrate Their New Film & Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Topiary

posted on March 21st, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Have you visited the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival yet? The festival, which runs through May 18, features a bevy of characters in topiary form – including this year, Kermit and Miss Piggy, to celebrate the opening of their new film “Muppets Most Wanted,” which debuts in theaters today.

From the video, Miss Piggy sure is proud of her appearance at the festival this year.

And here’s the finished topiary. Sure looks like it’s easy being green for Kermit!

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What do you think about their topiary? Will you stop to see it on your next visit to the park? Tell us in the “Comments” section below.

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First Look Inside Festival Center for 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

posted on March 6th, 2014 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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With the 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival officially underway, I stopped by the Festival Center to get a first look at the set up. This location, found in Future World between the Universe of Energy and MISSION: Space pavilions, is home to a variety of things including demonstrations and a merchandise shop. When I arrived, the event team was putting finishing touches on several areas inside the pavilion. I snapped a few photographs of the merchandise store that I thought you may enjoy.

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The sound of running water filled the air as I walked around the merchandise shop. The center of the shop had a nice garden-like setting complete with trees and fountains. I spotted several garden items throughout the display including wind chimes, garden stakes and other decorative goods.

First Look Inside Festival Center for 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival First Look Inside Festival Center for 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

In a previous article, I shared a look at some of the new merchandise we’ve created for this annual event. I enjoyed seeing the two different visual statements of these items displayed along the walls.

There were a few other things that caught my eye including new, instant photograph-inspired T-shirts for adults, kids and Passholders. There was also a jar-shaped plastic tumbler complete with the event logo. I particularly liked the calendar that contains images of the character topiaries featured throughout Epcot. This is the first time we’ve offered a calendar like this for the event.

Here is a gallery containing a few other items that I liked. The 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival runs through May 18, 2014. I invite you to join the conversation on social networks by using the hashtag #EpcotInSpring. You can also find more information about the event by visiting EpcotInSpring.com.
I hope to see you at Epcot; I’ll most likely be at my favorite Outdoor Kitchen, the Pineapple Promenade!

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Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Returns Today

posted on March 5th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This year’s Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival returns to the park today, with new Muppet-themed topiaries, Outdoor Kitchens, and Flower Power concerts.

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In addition to many lovely floral displays, this year’s topiaries will include Mickey, Minnie and Pluto; Mater’s Parts, Plants & Play Garden; Classic Disney Couples; Beauty and the Beast; and Mike & Sulley’s Monstrous Garden. Kermit and Miss Piggy are also appearing in topiary form in between the Italy and the Germany pavilions with a display inspired by the new movie Disney’s “Muppets Most Wanted“. For a behind-the-scenes look at how their topiary came to be, check out the video below!

Also at this year’s festival, guests will be able to enjoy tastes from eleven Outdoor Kitchens, which will serve up a slew of new “sweet & savory” and “spring-inspired” menu items. (Check out a sneak peek at this year’s dishes in Pam’s previous post).

The Flower Power Concert Series also returns this Friday with The Guess Who (“American Woman”) taking the stage. Upcoming acts also include two bands making their debut Flower Power Concert performance: Gary Lewis and the Playboys (“This Diamond Ring”) and The Alan Parsons Live Project (“Eye in the Sky”). Performances are included in park admission and take place Friday through Sunday at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m.

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New Mini Disney Gift Card Designs for Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

posted on March 4th, 2014 by Virginia Scanlon, Manager Alliance Management, Disney Gift Card Services


If you’re visiting the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, you’ll notice we have several exclusive mini Disney Gift Cards created especially for this year’s event. And today, we’re excited to share an early look at the new artwork.

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The mini Disney Gift Cards have all the functionalities of a regular Disney Gift Card, with the added convenience of wearing it around your wrist. As you enjoy the sights and scents that the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival has to offer, the mini Disney Gift Card will help you quickly satisfy your taste buds by purchasing foods that highlight the taste of spring at the outdoor kitchens.

These designs will be available exclusively at Epcot for a limited time during the festival.

Activate your Disney Gift Card and just swipe to pay for food and more. Your Disney Gift Card can even be reloaded as many times as you want at the majority of festival kiosks. When the festival is over, you can continue using your card since, like all Disney Gift Cards, it’s good for practically all things Disney here at the Walt Disney World Resort and beyond.

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Food Competes with Flowers for Top Billing at 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

posted on February 19th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Instead of photos of the gorgeous flowers and topiaries, we want to show off some of the delicious new delights for your taste buds at the 21st annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival that opens March 5 and runs through May 18 – that’s 75 days to take it all in.

Last year was the first year that food starred alongside the flowers, and this year 11 Outdoor Kitchens debut around World Showcase Lagoon, each with an artful produce and herb-raised garden bed that showcases something that you can taste in the dish they’re offering, say, corn at the Florida marketplace, or pineapples in Japan.

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Chef Jens Dahlmann had fun with the new Urban Farm EATS with its sustainable garden featuring tilapia swimming around that help fertilize the veggies. All three dishes are gluten free and two are vegetarian. There’s a pickled beet salad with goat cheese cream, mizuna (greens) and pistachios, eggplant grown at The Land pavilion at Epcot with Romesco (sweet pepper sauce) and spaghetti squash, and a ghost-pepper-dusted tilapia with crisp melon slaw and mint oil – and if you’ve never tried ghost pepper, it’s a kicky treat. They even have a vegan chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon and a gluten-free beer.

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In all there are 16 vegetarian dishes and a dozen gluten-free choices. Each marketplace has three to four dishes, adding up to more than 50 beverages and 40 different food items. It’s your chance to try anything from pulled-duck confit with garlic and parsley potatoes in France to a “piggylicious” bacon cupcake with maple frosting and pretzel crunch at The Smokehouse: Barbecues and Brews. Craft beers abound again this year, from a Tropical Mango Pale Ale from St. John Brewers in the U.S. Virgin Islands to Feast of Flowers Farmhouse Ale brewed right here in Florida just for the festival.

Get a full rundown of what’s being offered at each Urban Kitchen as well as information on all the other fun things to do at epcotinspring.com.

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